clearn.png
Sunday October 17th, 2021 11:43PM

Trump ally McCarthy is reelected leader of House Republicans

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Kevin McCarthy easily won reelection as House Republican leader, a stunning turnaround as the entire GOP leadership team was rewarded by their colleagues for reducing the Democrats’ House advantage in the November election.

McCarthy faced no opposition Tuesday to return as minority leader during the closed-door gathering under COVID-19 protocols. After a quick vote, he won a standing ovation, according to an aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private session.

For the California Republican, it cements his role as a political survivor who brushed back naysayers and parlayed an alliance with President Donald Trump to revive his path to one day possibly becoming House speaker.

“Our country has faced unbelievable challenges," he said afterward. House Republicans are “the most united and energized” he's ever seen after their “historic political upset."

Republicans saw little reason to shake up their leadership after not a single GOP lawmaker in the House lost reelection. The No. 2 Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, once seen as a potential rival to McCarthy, won another term as GOP whip. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., was reelected as chair of the conference, and Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., will again lead the campaign arm, the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The internal party elections, held under COVID-19 protocols at a packed hotel ballroom across from the Capitol, were far from the drama-filled episodes of days past. Just two years ago, McCarthy faced a conservative challenge to replace retiring Speaker Paul Ryan. And before that, McCarthy was forced to abruptly withdraw when it was clear he did not have enough support from conservatives and evangelicals in his ranks to replace then-Speaker John Boehner.

What’s changed?

“A monster election,” said Texas GOP Rep. Kevin Brady.

Republicans surprised even themselves by defending their House seats and ousting more than a handful of Democrats to shrink Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s majority. They elected more women and minority lawmakers than ever to the Republican side of the aisle, as they work to broaden the party's appeal. They won in part with stark rhetoric labeling Democrats, often inaccurately, as “socialists.”

With the chamber poised to be more narrowly split, so far 219-204, and about a dozen races still undecided, House Republicans could see their currency rise in President-elect Joe Biden’s administration if they steer votes to pass or block legislation.

McCarthy gave nod to that role ahead, saying that while Republicans as the minority party won't be able to control the schedule of bills that come for a vote, they will “run the floor.”

Ahead of a 2022 midterm election, the GOP lawmakers now have a legitimate pathway of their own back to power. The wins this cycle narrow the gap needed for Republicans to reach the 218 seats needed to topple Democrats' grip on the majority.

McCarthy, who some thought would leave Congress or be forced out if the party suffered losses, now appears poised to hold fast as his potential rise as speaker is again within reach.

“When our leaders were working their tails off, you know — whether it’s on the political side, messaging side, bringing the team together, it’s important to keep ... the winning team in place as we set our sights on the majority," said Brady, the top Republican on the Ways & Means Committee.

McCarthy helped power this year’s victories, raising more than $106 million this election cycle and spending 107 days on the road this year — campaigning in 33 cities in the final three weeks of the campaign, according to his staff.

Trump found an early ally in McCarthy who was an early endorser of his 2016 campaign, Trump is likely to keep “my Kevin” close for their regular calls as the president continues to influence the party after the White House.

McCarthy represents Bakersfield, a longtime oil and farming hub in a patch of California’s Trump country, and readily acknowledges he wasn't always the best student. After high school, he won money from the lottery and used the proceeds to open a sandwich counter in his uncle’s yogurt shop.

But he launched into politics with his ability to chat with people. He was first elected in 2006, taking over the seat of former Rep. Bill Thomas, for whom he worked as an aide. He recruited candidates and raised money as the head of the 2010 campaign and its tea party class of Republicans.

McCarthy and his team are now among the remaining leaders from the tea party era, when House Republicans last controlled Congress. He survived both Boehner and the conservative Freedom Caucus forces that forced him to early retirement. Mark Meadows, the former Freedom Caucus chair who tried to topple Boehner, is now Trump’s chief of staff.

Conservative Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., who has aligned with the Freedom Caucus, said one of the frustrations that lawmakers had in the past was “people felt like they couldn’t even be heard without being shut down.”

McCarthy has won over many lawmakers by hearing them out on issues. Rather than being asked to just “do this for the team,” he said, McCarthy’s approach is “Let’s all get together and talk about.”

Of course operating as a minority party and blocking Pelosi’s agenda in the House is easier than leading the majority. That's what led to so much GOP infighting among conservative hardliners and more traditional Republicans during the earlier era. In the Trump era, House Republicans’ role receded as the White House often dominated the discussion and Republicans held the majority in the Senate.

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, most of the 200-plus new and returning lawmakers gathered for the elections after an orientation week of programs for the incoming class. Some spouses also attended.

Lawmakers were under orders from the Capitol's Office of the Attending Physician to wear masks, maintain social distancing and be mindful of how much time they were spending talking to one another.

The House Republicans had to seek a waiver from the District of Columbia, which has restrictions on large gatherings.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: 6-day lockdown ordered in South Australia state
The Australian state of South Australia will begin a six-day lockdown at midnight Wednesday, with schools, universities, bars and cafes closed
10:55PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Asian stocks mixed after Wall Street fall on virus worries
Asian stock markets are mixed after Wall Street declined as worries about the long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic tempered enthusiasm about development of a possible vaccine
10:31PM ( 41 minutes ago )
FDA allows 1st rapid virus test that gives results at home
U.S. regulators are allowing emergency use of the first rapid coronavirus test that can be performed and developed entirely at home
10:21PM ( 51 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
3 former pro-democracy lawmakers arrested in Hong Kong
Hong Kong police have arrested three former opposition lawmakers for disrupting legislative meetings several months ago, as concerns grow over a crackdown on the city’s pro-democracy camp
9:15PM ( 1 hour ago )
Peruvians get 3rd president in a week amid cautious hopes
Peru has sworn in its third president in just over a week
8:29PM ( 2 hours ago )
US dropping case against former Mexican defense secretary
The Justice Department is dropping its drug trafficking and money laundering case against former Mexican defense secretary Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos
8:06PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Loeffler, Warnock set for head-to-head debate in Georgia
Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock will face off in a televised debate on Dec. 6
6:26PM ( 4 hours ago )
States plead for more federal help as virus outbreak worsens
States in the U.S. are renewing their push for more federal money to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak and to help them distribute a vaccine when one becomes widely available sometime in 2021
5:59PM ( 5 hours ago )
Twitter, Facebook CEOs vow election action; GOP touts curbs
As the CEOs of Twitter and Facebook gave assurances of vigorous action against election disinformation, Republicans at a Senate hearing pounded the social media companies over political bias, business practices and market dominance
5:35PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
The Latest: 6-day lockdown ordered in South Australia state
The Australian state of South Australia will begin a six-day lockdown at midnight Wednesday, with schools, universities, bars and cafes closed
10:55PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Asian stocks mixed after Wall Street fall on virus worries
Asian stock markets are mixed after Wall Street declined as worries about the long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic tempered enthusiasm about development of a possible vaccine
10:31PM ( 42 minutes ago )
FDA allows 1st rapid virus test that gives results at home
U.S. regulators are allowing emergency use of the first rapid coronavirus test that can be performed and developed entirely at home
10:21PM ( 52 minutes ago )
As virus cases spiral, Los Angeles readies plan for curfew
Los Angeles County has imposed new restrictions on businesses and is readying plans for a mandatory curfew for all but essential workers if coronavirus cases keep spiking
10:15PM ( 58 minutes ago )
Trump fires agency head who vouched for 2020 vote security
President Donald Trump has fired the nation’s top election security official, a widely respected member of the administration who had dared to refute the president’s unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud
10:01PM ( 1 hour ago )